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Lawsuit Filed in Little Rock Seeks Gay Marriage Rights in Arkansas

Complaint filed in circuit court lists several same-sex couples as plaintiffs.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - One week after landmark decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage, a lawsuit has been filed in Little Rock seeking to outlaw an Arkansas amendment that prohibits same-sex couples from getting married in the state.

The complaint was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court this morning on behalf of several same-sex couples. It seeks a "declaratory judgment finding the unequal treatment of homosexuals as set forth" by Amendment 83.

The suit claims that the "Arkansas Constitution is more protective of an individual's rights than the Constitution of the United States", citing 1997's action by the Arkansas General Assembly to amend Arkansas Code to clarify that Arkansas does not issue marriage licenses to persons of the same sex and does not recognize marriages between members of the same sex.

Amendment 83 of 2004 "denies homosexual couples the fundamental right to establish a familial institution with the protections and benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples", the lawsuit states.

The group wants a preliminary and permanent injunction barring enforcement of Amendment 83.

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of gay marriage, and it allowed gay marriage to resume in California by declining to decide a separate case on Proposition 8.

The court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to gay couples who are legally married in their states, including Social Security survivor benefits, immigration rights and family leave.

Meanwhile, Arkansans for Equality, a Non-Profit Organization supporting equality for all Arkansans, has submitted ballot language for the 2014 ballot to the Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel for the repeal of Amendment 83.
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